Quora Answer: Does Islam Have a Redeemer, Like the Christians Have Christ?
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is my answer to a Quora question: “Does Islam have a redeemer, like the Christians have Christ?”
The concept of “Redeemer” in Christianity is a reference to Jesus’ (a.s.) role as the Vicarious Sacrifice to “redeem” mankind from Original Sin. The Gospels themselves do not use the title “Redeemer”. The word “redemption”, however, does appear in Paul of Tarsus’ Epistles, and is used to convey the salvic significance of the Vicarious Sacrifice, of Jesus (a.s.) dying on the cross to atone for the Original Sin of Adam (a.s.) and Eve in the Garden of Eden:
1 John 2:2
2 He, in his own person, is the atonement made for our sins, and not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world.
2 καὶ αὐτὸς ἱλασμός ἐστιν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, οὐ περὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων δὲ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου.
2 et ipse est propitiatio pro peccatis nostris: non pro nostris autem tantum, sed etiam pro totius mundi.
Here, the word “atonement” is also translated as “redemption” in other versions. And it is clear that this redemption is for Paul’s doctrine of the Vicarious Sacrifice. This Pauline Christian sense of Christ’s indispensable and necessary role for Salvation is succinctly summarised by the axiom “extra Christum nulla salus”, “outside Christ no salvation”.
Islam does not believe in Original Sin and the Qur’an Affirms that every man is answerable only for his actions, and not that of another:
قُلۡ أَغَيۡرَ ٱللَّهِ أَبۡغِى رَبًّ۬ا وَهُوَ رَبُّ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ۚ وَلَا تَكۡسِبُ ڪُلُّ نَفۡسٍ إِلَّا عَلَيۡہَاۚ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ۬ وِزۡرَ أُخۡرَىٰۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُم مَّرۡجِعُكُمۡ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمۡ فِيهِ تَخۡتَلِفُونَ (١٦٤)
Say: “Shall I seek for (my) Cherisher other than Allah when He is the Cherisher of all things (that exist)?” Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself: no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your goal in the end is toward Allah: He will Tell you the truth of the things wherein you disputed. (Surah al-An’am:164)
وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ۬ وِزۡرَ أُخۡرَىٰۚ وَإِن تَدۡعُ مُثۡقَلَةٌ إِلَىٰ حِمۡلِهَا لَا يُحۡمَلۡ مِنۡهُ شَىۡءٌ۬ وَلَوۡ كَانَ ذَا قُرۡبَىٰٓۗ … (١٨)
Nor can a bearer of burdens bear another’s burden. If one heavily laden should call another to (bear) his load, not the least portion of it can be carried (by the other) even though he be nearly related ... (Surah Fathir:18)
And there are more verses to that effect. Because of this, there is no need for a “Redeemer”. What Islam does have, however, is the intercession of the Prophet (s.a.w.) for all humanity, and the intercession of other prophets, the pious, and our good deeds.